Malaysian Invasion’s Season 2 Grand Final in Kuala Lumpur was headlined by a grudge match between Will Chope and Matt Pellino. It was the UFC veteran who prevailed with a second-round submission against the debutant.
Pellino, who was fighting professionally for the very first time, surprised a few people by controlling the opening round with his takedowns although he was never able to capitalize with strikes or submission attempts.
Chope’s striking looked slick, but he didn’t get much chance to showcase it as he was taken down again early in the second round but, despite being on his back, he was the more active of the two fighters and succeeded in landing a series of hard elbows.
With Pellino concentrating on trying to protect himself from the elbow strikes, Chope was able to throw up his long legs and sink in a triangle choke, which brought a tap from the fellow American.
The win was Chope’s second in succession and moves him to 21-7, while Pellino drops to 0-1. Pellino still managed to impress by causing a few problems for a much more experienced opponent despite his lack of prior professional experience.
The headliner might have been the most eagerly anticipated match-up on the card, but it was the co- main event that had the highest calibre fight as Mark Striegl made his bantamweight debut against Kai Kawhare-France.
Striegl was last seen unsuccessfully challenging for the PXC 145-pound title and has been out of action for over a year, but he showed no signs of cage rust and was able to secure an early takedown at the second attempt.
Once he had the New Zealander on the ground, Striegl wasted no time in sinking in his hooks and working for the rear naked choke, which Kawhare-France was able to defend initially, but eventually succumbed with a tap.
Kawhare-France drops to 7-5-0-1. The win takes Striegl to 13-1, and a contract with a major promotion like ONE FC or the UFC must surely be on the horizon for the popular Filipino- American fighter.
The card was a mixture of amateur and professional action, but all 11 fights finished with stoppages and none of the match-ups made it as far as the third round on a very entertaining evening at Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur.
Over 500 amateurs entered the Season 2 tournament, which was funded by Malaysian telecommunications company Tune Talk, and the winners were facing off against the champion’s from last year’s competition for the MIMMA titles.
The pick of the fights saw Season 1 winner Keanu Subba take on Season 2 winner Josh Kiew in featherweight action and it was the former who prevailed with a vicious flurry of first round ground and pound.
The best story of the day involved Seah Zhang Yu, who was a beaten finalist in the Season 2 flyweight division, but stepped up as a late replacement on 24 hours notice after the fighter who defeated him in that match-up failed to make weight.
Yu had zero preparation time and only made weight on the morning of the fight, but he landed the single best punch of the entire night, a perfectly timed left hook that instantly separated Season 1 winner Kenny Yap from his senses.
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